There are many platforms in which people can choose to support, assist and value other human beings. I am proud of Joe Biden’s outward expression of the injustice that faced the woman of the Stanford rape case.
( Read his open letter here- https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomnamako/joe-biden-writes-an-open-letter-to-stanford-survivor?utm_term=.gu139bgAe#.cpZXGJvdA)
Not only has he made a statement but along with the President, their wives and many other legislator they have taken a stand against bystander effect and the ever growing rape culture especially on College campuses. I commend them for deliberately taking a stand against Colleges and Universities that do not accurately report, investigate or do their diligence regarding sexual assaults.
Here are the powerful words of the Stanford rape survivor:
The system has failed another person that does not hold the dominant identities of a group. If you do not know already- a young woman was raped- let’s not minimize it. An unconscious female was attacked when two men on bikes rode by and observed a limp body being assaulted. The rapist (because that’s what he is, not a swimming elite athlete that the media would like to portray him as) went running away. So, you say there was consent but you ran? Okay… That is only the start to the problem. The perpetrator’s father then makes a statement even more infuriating (big surprise based on the child he created), stating that his son’s life should not be ruined based on 20 minutes of action.
20 minutes of action, put a girl in the hospital. 20 minutes of action, has caused her to feel that she has lost control of her body. 20 minutes of action, has led a woman through a circus ring for over a year in a judicial system that still said “fuck you, you don’t matter” in the end. 20 minutes of your son’s actions – has changed a woman’s life. 20 minutes of action – has hurt a woman in a way that no one could ever truly understand.20 minutes of action that deserves a lifetime of punishment. Sir, I will tell you this, it takes less than 20 minutes to alter a person’s world.
I really want to know if this man has a daughter. I want to know if this boy has a sister, fuck if you have an aunt, grandma, or mother and please be able to look me in the eyes and tell me 20 minutes of action – by an unknown perpetrator is just no big deal. Let’s play race into this for a hot millisecond, if he was black- he would have been not only found guilty but given the maximum sentence – because well duh he is black. But this young man is a Stanford student, he is an athlete, he is white, he is of higher socioeconomic status and because of all he has going for him, let’s not ruin his future the way he ruined this young woman’s future. Why should they both suffer for his actions? Oh no. Blame the woman, talk about her alcohol consumption, talk about her voicemail to her boyfriend, discredit her, and say anything to belittle her and make the world view her as promiscuous, young, immature girl. I mean, instead of pointing out that she was unconscious and attacked by a fully aware man that knew what he was doing, instead the system chooses to blame the woman.
Now if you haven’t read my last post “No does not equal fuck off”- this would be a good time to go on over and read that on the blog or Huffington Post- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamika-tait/no-not-never-a-walk-in-my_b_9892770.html) That post talks specifically about how catcalling makes women feel uncomfortable and the nervousness that comes from it- of having to be on guard and aware of your surroundings at all times and the devastating consequences when you’re not on guard.
Now, does sexual assault/rape happen frequently? Yes. Is it often gone unreported? A tremendous amount will never be given the opportunity to tell their story. Some wonder why this is so? Well it’s simple…this is a misogynistic, sexist, racist culture that promotes rape culture and dismisses everyone who does not fit into the box perfectly.
The maximum amount of time that could be served is 14 years and despite a unanimous guilty verdict from the jury the sentencing was lenient given the young man’s lack of prior history, his swimming abilities and to save him further humiliation. This man has never once apologized for his actions, he simply blamed the victim. He has decided to work with campuses on sobriety and making better decisions. Never once has he stated he would work to end victim blaming, slut shaming, teach people the importance of consent of a complete “yes”. He has never admitted that the young lady he raped was unconscious and never stated that he was wrong for undressing her, inserting objects into her and brutalizing her body. So why would rape victims comes forward? Why would they accuse a perpetrator to be ridiculed for their personal history, relationship status, amount of alcohol consumed, and choice of clothing when the system will just put her down and simply say boys are boys and women must deal with it. Historically, white men have helped themselves to the bodies of black women with no consent needed and fighting back would almost seem unheard of. White women viewed as virtuous were always seen as something to be valued and protected- to keep her pure. The one thing women have in common is that our fate has been set up to lie in the hands of man. Men that have deemed our sexual activity as something to not be seen or heard or be slut shamed and called names like whore and hoe to put less value to you as a woman. The men who make sexual advances without consent, whether conscious or not- using their manliness to overpower, possess, shame, ridicule and abuse the woman’s body. The men who have power like a judge to make a statement that white supremacy, classism/money, and manhood does not overpower the wrong doing against another human being.
I think Tupac has said it best
“And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women”
Finally, to the young woman who told her story. Thank you. Thank you for fighting relentlessly, for having your voice heard because regardless of the verdict you have taken a huge step out that many do not have the courage to and fought a system that deems you less than. But to that, I say you spoke your truth, you stood in your truth and even when the floor came from underneath your feet you simply continued to stand and all around the nation there are women, girls and even men who stand against the injustices you have faced. I pray for peace and healing of both mind, body and spirit for you along this journey we call life.
Forever standing in a crooked room,